When her next album, the brilliant I Paralyze set (released on Columbia in 1982) also failed to click, Cher told us that she thought her recording career was definitely over. It would be six years before anyone could persuade her to give it another try, and even then she did so reluctantly. Still, deep down, part of her has always been ready to Believe. She was anxious to talk about her new album, so thats where our conversation began.
We started by asking her what made her decide to do a dance album this time. You know, I love this album (and) Im very proud of it but I cant take any of the credit. It wasnt my idea at all. Rob Dickens, the head of Warner Brothers-UK, said to me, Cher, I think you should do a dance album and at first I resisted it. I said oh...ah No, I dont wanna do that. Fortunately, Dickens persisted. He persuaded her to at least listen to some of the new songs hed found, and she agreed. He sent me these songs and there were two that I really loved. One was Dove Lamore and the other was Strong Enough, both of which were written by the METRO team. He then suggested that I come to England to work with these boys, and so I did.
The boys in question here are, as we mentioned before, the METRO team leaders, Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling, who produced most of the album, and songwriter Paul Barry. Its hard to explain how METRO works. I mean, its like What is METRO? Brian runs the office, and keeps everybody enthusiastic. Mark is the engineer, and Paul writes the songs. Paul just kept writing songs (and) Mark and I would record them in the tiniest studio Ive ever seen! As the recording sessions continued, the albums focus began to take shape. Before I knew it, it had turned into a dance album.
The first song actually recorded for the album was Strong Enough, and it is definitely one of Chers personal favorites. Rob told me that he said to the boys Im gonna give you a chance to produce Cher. I want you to write a song for Cher you know, a Cher song, and Strong Enough is the song they came up with. That track, in particular, has the kind of undeniably catchy, retro-disco flavor that Cher herself favors when she goes out to a club. If Im going to go dancing, I wanna go on a night when theyre playing 70s hits, because thats my favorite music to dance to. As far as the new album is concerned, Cher likes the fact that several tracks seem to capture that same disco-era essence. Its not that I think this is a 70s album but theres a thread, a consistency running through it that I love. Its more obvious on certain tracks than it is on others, especially Strong Enough. She told us that Mark had tried approaching the track from several different, more contemporary angles before admitting, begrudgingly, that it worked best when they did it the way Cher suggested, meaning the way they did it in the old days. That meant real strings and the dramatic, a capella-into-slam dunk disco punch of classic hits like I Will Survive. That was the only way to get into that song. The boys tried a whole bunch of different ways to do it (but) I told them it wasnt gonna work. Cher says that they finally bit the bullet, and did it her way. The results, of course, speak for themselves, with Strong Enough is emerging as the near-universal choice for the next single release in Europe.
Surprisingly, Cher said that a different track would probably be selected as the next American single. Music seems to be a little different over here so I couldnt say for sure what the next single might be. But Believe was just the obvious choice for the first single everywhere. Its the best song on the album. The evolution of the albums chart-charging first single, with its infectious, sing-a-long chorus and ear-catching vocal flutter, is a story in itself.
We had done the song, and we loved the chorus, but the verse was just st. Later, while soaking in a bathtub, Cher herself came up with the line Ive had time to think it through, and maybe Im too good for you, and suddenly the whole song made sense. Additionally, Cher told us that the tracks unique vocal hooks were inspired by a similar sound effect that shed heard on an album by Roachford.